Four years ago this week, Comcast had the honor to participate in World IPv6 Launch, an event created to spread awareness and increase global readiness for the impending transition to the modern version of the Internet Protocol that enables all online communication.
What started as a single day, has now transformed into an ongoing awareness effort that continues to advocate the critical need for transition and the power of IPv6 as a catalyst to drive the next stage of the Internet’s ongoing evolution.
The results of that global effort have been remarkable. In an infographic, the Internet Society’s World IPv6 Launch effort estimates that more than 20 percent of Internet traffic will be IPv6 this year, up from less than 1 percent four years ago. On Comcast’s network that number is closer to 30 percent today, and we expect it to top 50 percent by the end of 2016.
In addition to mounting awareness efforts, the scarcity of IPv4 addresses is also driving rapid change.
Last year, North America ran out of new IPv4 addresses. As we wrote at the time, the depletion of IPv4 acted as yet another forcing mechanism to drive Internet users of all sizes toward IPv6.
Because IP addresses are so critical to how we serve our customers, Comcast committed to IPv6 more than a decade ago, and as a result, we are excited today to serve as a platform and a catalyst for other companies and users seeking to upgrade.
In 2014, Comcast became the first major U.S. ISP to deploy "dual-stack" IPv4 and IPv6 capacity throughout our entire network. Today:
98 percent of the cable modems we provide to customers are managed over an IPv6-only connection.
87 percent of our customers are actively provisioned with IPv6 for their broadband service.
More than 50 percent of our X1 set-top-boxes use only IPv6 for IP-powered features such as apps and guide.
Making those changes isn’t just important to providing enough addressing space to serve our customers needs, it’s also a critical component of building a smarter network. The scale of IPv6 means every connected thing on earth can get an address, and the nature of the IPv6 addressing opens the door to networking approaches that increase simplicity, reliability and speed.
Four years have done nothing to change the core tenets of the World IPv6 Launch effort, and if anything, the continued meteoric growth of our addressing needs during that time have only made the move to IPv6 more vital.
In 2020, there will be 50 billion devices online (more than 10 times as many devices as there are IPv4 addresses). We’re all excited to see what those connected things can do, enabled by an addressing space that can support 340 trillion, trillion, trillion connected things.